Diagnostic medical sonographer use special imaging equipment that produces sound waves to obtain images of the human anatomy or to conduct physical exams. The images will help doctors evaluate patients and diagnose their condition.
Diagnostic medical sonographer education requirements
Those who are interested in becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer must complete at least a two-year associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography. However, a four-year bachelor program is also available, as well as a one-year certificate program offered to professionals already working in the health care field. Most of these programs require students to complete a clinical experience, which will have them working under the supervision of an experienced sonographer in a hospital, imaging laboratory, or physician’s office.
Sonography programs usually include courses in medical terminology, anatomy, and applied sciences. They might be divided into specific fields, which require separate certification exams, such as breast sonography or abdominal sonography.
To ensure that they get the best preparation possible for their exam and the career ahead of them, aspiring diagnostic medical sonographers should choose the right school for them.
Choosing the Right Sonography School
Students who aspire to become a diagnostic medical sonographer should only enroll in a school accredited by bodies like the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. Graduates from non-accredited schools will not get a national certification. Another accrediting body would be the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
They should check the certification success rate of the institution. The higher the passing rate of the school’s graduates is in the certification exam, the better the future graduates’ chances are of passing the exam.
Students should also evaluate the career placement success of the school. Many schools help graduates with their job postings, resume development, and career fairs. Some even refer students to local medical centers and hospitals.
As students, they have the right to choose a school with offers that meet their needs. Students who want to go at it naturally can go for classroom-based programs should choose traditional programs. Those who want to work at their own pace should pick schools with online courses. However, students can also have the best of both worlds from a hybrid program.
It also helps if the sonography school is closer to home. This is especially important for those taking traditional and hybrid sonography programs.
They should also consider the school’s facilities. Students should ask about what types of equipment are used, how old they are, or when equipment and tools are often replaced.
The tuition cost and other expenses should be factored in the decision making process as well. There should be financial aid, scholarships or grants available for some students who cannot afford school.
Top Sonography Schools
Future diagnostic medical sonographers won’t have much trouble finishing their program if they choose from these top schools – Newman University, University of Oklahoma, and Seattle University.
Newman University offers a Bachelor of Science in Sonography program that teaches students about using diagnostic ultrasound techniques to check the cardiac, abdominal, and vascular parts of the patients.
The University of Oklahoma offers a B.S. in Radiography and a B.S. in Sonography. These are also available online and can be wrapped up in just 18 months.
Seattle University offers a B.S. in Diagnostic Ultrasound through their College of Science and Engineering. The program covers the basic sciences, liberal arts, and ultrasound specialties.
Online Sonography Programs
There are only a few schools offering online programs in diagnostic medical sonography, but just like with the traditional schools, they also offer associate and bachelor’s degrees as well as a certificate program. On top of their academic work, students are also required to gain practical experience through clinical rotations.